Ways Meditation Can Improve Your Mood19/07/2019
Meditation has a long history of improving people’s moods. It was used thousands of years ago to help ancient practitioners achieve enlightenment and make their day-to-day lives better. This tradition of using meditation to improve mood continues in today’s hyper-distracted, social media-saturated world. A 2014 study found that mindfulness meditation reduced rates of participant anxiety, depression, stress, and pain. There are countless more studies which show the same outcome! So, join the meditation and mood experts at YogaFit to learn some of the remarkable emotional benefits of meditation!
The Basics About Meditation and Mood
Depression, anxiety, and stress are the three largest culprits of poor mental health. Meditation works to help alleviate all three while simultaneously improving things like concentration, mindfulness, and much more. How does yoga do this? Well, it works on three parts of the brain that are central to causing depression – the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), the amygdala, and the hippocampus.
The mPFC is the part of the brain that processes information related to your idea of self. Since depression and stress are almost always self-centered brain activities, your mPFC is responsible for them. The amygdala is what most people call the “lizard brain.” It’s the part that regulates the fight or flight response and is responsible for sending out neurochemicals that cause the release of cortisol (your body’s stress hormone). The hippocampus is the part of your brain that works with memory. It’s usually smaller in people suffering from depression, though no one is really sure why.
Using meditation to improve mood works in your brain by “separating” the mPFC and the amygdala. While meditation itself doesn’t entirely remove self-centered brain activity or stop the release of cortisol, it works to uncouple the two activities. The result is fewer intrusive “woe is me” thoughts and a decreased chemical response to the thoughts that are still there. Mediation and mood are also connected because a daily practice of thirty minutes or more has been shown to increase the gray matter of your hippocampus. This can help lessen depression symptoms.
Using Meditation for Anxiety
Using meditation for anxiety works in some of the same ways as using meditation to fight depression and stress. By uncoupling the medial prefrontal cortex and amygdala, and decreasing cortisol, you’ll naturally have less anxiety. There are a couple of other interesting ways that using meditation to improve mood helps reduce anxiety.
The anterior cingulate cortex is a part of your brain that controls worry. Meditation for anxiety – whether you practice Yoga Nidra, Ayurveda, Pranayama, or any other type – stimulates activity in this area. This means fewer racing thoughts or spiraling anxiety attacks.
Finally, one of yoga’s most well-known benefits is the ability to stop and simply be. You learn how to sit with your thoughts, let them enter and exit your consciousness, without feeling an emotional reaction. This type of focused, introspective concentration helps reduce anxiety.
Improve Your Mood With YogaFit
At YogaFit, we’ve combined the research-backed data of modern sports science with the traditional teachings of Yoga. Our experienced and highly-engaging team is ready to help you start your journey to improving your mood through Yoga.
Meditation and mood are closely linked through the practice of yoga. Take a look at our extensive video archive for tips and tricks on how to take your practice to the next level! Then check out our full roster of yoga instructor training!
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